Redknapp hails Austin


Published: Saturday 20th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Harry Redknapp saluted hat-trick hero Charlie Austin but also saved praise for the character his side showed to come from two-down and beat West Brom.

The 3-2 victory at Loftus Road moved the R’s out of the Barclays Premier League bottom three as Austin returned from suspension to score three goals to complete a remarkable comeback after Redknapp’s side started the game slowly.

The visitors were two ahead inside the opening 20 minutes as both Joleon Lescott and Silvestre Varela hit their first goals for the Baggies but Austin scored from the spot to half the arrears before the break.

And the 25-year-old moved onto 11 goals for the campaign, and nine from his last eight appearances, as he struck twice in the second half to lift QPR up to 15th in the table.

“Charlie scored the goals and has been excellent for us but we showed a lot of character to come back from two down,” Redknapp said of his striker, who became the first QPR player in 21 years to score a Premier League hat-trick.

“We were being outplayed, they started fantastically with their movement and passing and it was difficult to live with them in the early stages but to come back from that and win 3-2 is a fantastic result.

“Everyone talks about his three goals but his defending at the end of the game, he makes a challenge in the corner that was unbelievable, you would’ve thought it was a right-back.

“If that ball had come into the box we could have been in trouble but that summed up his work-rate up today, he worked his socks off for the team.”

Reports earlier in the week suggested former bricklayer Austin had turned down a new contract but Redknapp insisted he knew nothing of a potential deal.

“I don’t get involved with the contracts,” he said.

“Certainly Charlie is a player you want to keep at your football club. He has scored goals at every level and now he is scoring goals in the Premier League, he deserves it because he is a great lad.”

West Brom boss Alan Irvine would not have been too surprised that it was Austin who was the man to prevent his side picking up a second win inside a week.

“When I was manager of Sheffield Wednesday I wanted to sign him,” the Scotsman revealed.

“I recognised the ability he had at that time, I didn’t know how far he would be able to go but as a League One player he was certainly capable of playing in the Championship and beyond that. He is a player I have been aware of for a long time.”

Irvine felt the penalty decision, awarded by referee Chris Pawson after he deemed that James Morrison had pulled back Leroy Fer inside the box, could easily have gone unpunished.

“It was soft,” he said.

“The referee had a decision to make, I’m not sure they are given every week but it has been given this week. Even if it had been for my side I would have thought it was a bit soft but you are delighted to take it and I’m sure Harry is.

“We didn’t surrender the lead, we lost it. It was bitterly disappointing because I felt for the majority of the game we were the better team. We created a lot of chances and controlled the game. It is a lot harder to lift them up if you play badly and we didn’t play badly.”

Published: Saturday 20th December 2014 by The News Editor

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